MOSCOW, November 26 (Itar-Tass) —— The daily Rossiiskaya Gazeta has published the Federation Council’s resolution to schedule the presidential election for March 4, 2012. The document was unanimously adopted on Friday at the plenary session of the upper house of parliament. All 142 FC members voted for it. The presidential campaign has already started.
In accordance with the Law on the Election of the President of the Russian Federation, within 30 days following the date of publication initiative groups of voters (numbering no less than 100 members) should apply for registration in writing to the Central Election Commission.
The application, among other things, shall include a statement by a future candidate declaring consent to participate in the election, and the earnings and assets, which will be published in case of registration. A candidate nominated by the people may declare affiliation with one (but no more) public organizations, which must be older than one year, and whose short name should contain no more than seven words.
Election associations, and in particular parties, are also entitled to nominate a candidate immediately after the publication of the FC resolution. To do this the party should call a convention or conference, and nominate a candidate by secret ballot. Relevant documents must be submitted to the CEC in 30 days’ time.
The final number of contenders for the highest first post in the country will be determined on December 25.
Within five days after the filing of documents the CEC is to decide on the registration of an election association or group of voters. If several parties decide to nominate a common candidate, the period of consideration is increased to seven days. If the CEC for some reason refuses to register those wishing to nominate their presidential candidate, the refusal can be protested against, and the Supreme Court must consider the complaint no later than within three days.
Starting from the date of registration, the electoral association or initiative group can begin collecting signatures. They need to collect at least 1 million, and the number of signatures collected in one territory should be no more than 70 thousand. Then the sign-up lists must be submitted to the CEC no later than 55 days before the election day, that is, until January 10, but no earlier than 90 days before the polling day.
Next, 20 percent of signatures collected in support of each candidate will be verified. If it turns out that more than 15 percent of signatures are not valid, another ten percent of signatures will be studied, and if the total number of invalid signatures exceeds 15 percent, the candidate is denied registration.
No later than ten days after the sign-up lists and other required documents have been accepted, the CEC decides on whether the candidate is to be registered or denied registration. Refusal may follow for a number of reasons, apart from invalid signatures, such as considerable breach of the rules of collecting signatures, lack of or incorrect filling in of documents or substantial inaccuracy of the information provided about incomes and assets. If a candidate has "forgotten" about incomes which on the aggregate exceed 200 minimum wages, and make up more than 10 percent of the declared income, registration will be denied. The same proportions are applied to the understatement of deposits. With property it is a little bit easier – the grounds for refusal are an undeclared country home, apartment, plot of land, business or a share in it, as well as air, sea or river vessels – with no exceptions or reservations. “Forgetting” motor vehicles is possible.
In case of refusal on these grounds the CEC's decision may be appealed against at the Supreme Court, and in this case the supreme judicial authority has five days to consider the complaint.
If 45 days before the voting day less than two candidates have been registered, the election shall be postponed for up to 60 days for additional nominations. Three persons have already declared the intention to contest the presidency.
Ten days after the election day, i.e. on March 14, the CEC must determine its results. By March 17 the results should be published officially.
At the same time the date when the next president is to take office is not pegged to any upcoming election event. In accordance with the Law on the Election of the President of the Russian Federation the newly-elected president takes office strictly four years after the date of inauguration of the previous president, on May 7.